Temp went crazy, burnt my beautiful butt!!

Skunther

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Tailgater
After I first started smoking meat and made the most beautiful, wonderful, smoked pork butt I had ever tasted in my life in my upright, charbroil propane smoker, I got tired of the work involved in maintaining the smoke and moisture and temperature, and saw the pellet smokers that Traeger made. It seemed perfect. I wanted one as it seemed it would simplify the process and allow me to leave the smoker and come back instead of having to maintain it the entire time I was smoking. I finally got to use a friend’s Traeger and smoked a beautifully rubbed 8 pound pork shoulder. I smoked it for 180 overnight and the smoking went very well, in the morning, I checked it, and it was low on pellets, but still had some in the hopper. I refilled them and set the heat to 225. The smoker started smoking excessively, and the temperature went all the way up to 450 and even 500°. I shut down the smoker in panic to not burn the meat but the bark was already overburnt. The internal temp was still a mere 170°. From there I power cycled and tried to get the smoker to regulate, but the temperature kept on fluctuating from there between a prolonged 112° up to 400° again. It was very erratic, though I followed the instructions in the manual for starting up on smoke and then setting the temperature. The temperature on this is very unreliable. The thermocouple or whatever they use for sensing the temperature does not seem to work. at the end before I finally pulled the burnt shoulders off of the grill when the internal temp was still only 170, the Traeger had finally started catching fire, though the grease tray was clean and empty when I started. That was the last straw. I am going back to my old method of just manually, controlling the temperature and manually, controlling the wood chips. I subsequently explored other threads on temperature issues with Traegers, and they seem very prone to issues with their electronics, the controller, and other elements that you should really not have to deal with when smoking. Smoking should be simple. With this you seem to lose all control and if the unit malfunctions, then your whole butt is toast. I am very disappointed and will never be buying a Traeger.
 
My suspicion is that the level of pellets in the hopper might not have been sufficient to maintain the overnight setpoint. In the morning, you did two things at the same time. You refilled the hopper and you increased the temperature setpoint by 45 degrees. If the controller was running the auger at high speed in an attempt to maintain the temperature at the lower setpoint, refilling the hopper would have over-fueled the burn pot. Then when you bumped up the setpoint, the controller tried to respond but the the temperature overshot the setpoint.

This was your first time using a Traeger, and it was not even yours to start with. There is a learning curve to using a Traeger. While Traeger grills are far from perfect, with owner experience, most of them can produce some amazing meals. One thing Traeger owners learn early-on is never to trust the temperature sensors. Always verify using a 3rd party thermometer.
 
After I first started smoking meat and made the most beautiful, wonderful, smoked pork butt I had ever tasted in my life in my upright, charbroil propane smoker, I got tired of the work involved in maintaining the smoke and moisture and temperature, and saw the pellet smokers that Traeger made. It seemed perfect. I wanted one as it seemed it would simplify the process and allow me to leave the smoker and come back instead of having to maintain it the entire time I was smoking. I finally got to use a friend’s Traeger and smoked a beautifully rubbed 8 pound pork shoulder. I smoked it for 180 overnight and the smoking went very well, in the morning, I checked it, and it was low on pellets, but still had some in the hopper. I refilled them and set the heat to 225. The smoker started smoking excessively, and the temperature went all the way up to 450 and even 500°. I shut down the smoker in panic to not burn the meat but the bark was already overburnt. The internal temp was still a mere 170°. From there I power cycled and tried to get the smoker to regulate, but the temperature kept on fluctuating from there between a prolonged 112° up to 400° again. It was very erratic, though I followed the instructions in the manual for starting up on smoke and then setting the temperature. The temperature on this is very unreliable. The thermocouple or whatever they use for sensing the temperature does not seem to work. at the end before I finally pulled the burnt shoulders off of the grill when the internal temp was still only 170, the Traeger had finally started catching fire, though the grease tray was clean and empty when I started. That was the last straw. I am going back to my old method of just manually, controlling the temperature and manually, controlling the wood chips. I subsequently explored other threads on temperature issues with Traegers, and they seem very prone to issues with their electronics, the controller, and other elements that you should really not have to deal with when smoking. Smoking should be simple. With this you seem to lose all control and if the unit malfunctions, then your whole butt is toast. I am very disappointed and will never be buying a Traeger.
What Traeger was it? I grew up cooking whole hog in pits with my uncle’s restaurant then cooking butts on offsets. I switched to BGE for a very long time until a couple years ago I got a 780Pro. I hated it at first but only because it doesn’t put near the smoke flavor I was used to. I kept working with it and long story short, I absolutely love the simplicity of my Traeger. I’ve never had any issues like yours, mine does fluctuate with temperatures but I don’t pay any attention to temperature anymore. I set mine to 230, put a butt or few on it about 7 pm with a Meater probe inserted in each. I leave my cellphone in the living room and sleep all night without thinking about it. I get up, add pellets then wait until the nest reaches 203-205. I double wrap in foil and put in my Yeti for a few hours. They are consistent every time, absolutely simple enough a 10 year old can do it. My point, don’t give up and set the temperature initially to 230 and don’t change it. 180 is too low, especially for all night. I’m no expert and only know my 780, but I’ve learned that mine doesn’t like me switching temperatures during cooks either so I don’t. If that happens again, wrap it up and put in a pan then finish in the oven. At 170, it’s not going to take on any more smoke anyway. Let us know if you try it again!
 
What Traeger was it? I grew up cooking whole hog in pits with my uncle’s restaurant then cooking butts on offsets. I switched to BGE for a very long time until a couple years ago I got a 780Pro. I hated it at first but only because it doesn’t put near the smoke flavor I was used to. I kept working with it and long story short, I absolutely love the simplicity of my Traeger. I’ve never had any issues like yours, mine does fluctuate with temperatures but I don’t pay any attention to temperature anymore. I set mine to 230, put a butt or few on it about 7 pm with a Meater probe inserted in each. I leave my cellphone in the living room and sleep all night without thinking about it. I get up, add pellets then wait until the nest reaches 203-205. I double wrap in foil and put in my Yeti for a few hours. They are consistent every time, absolutely simple enough a 10 year old can do it. My point, don’t give up and set the temperature initially to 230 and don’t change it. 180 is too low, especially for all night. I’m no expert and only know my 780, but I’ve learned that mine doesn’t like me switching temperatures during cooks either so I don’t. If that happens again, wrap it up and put in a pan then finish in the oven. At 170, it’s not going to take on any more smoke anyway. Let us know if you try it again!

Shedd is absolutely on target. Nothing beats experience whether you are using a BBQ pit, an offset smoker, a BGE or other charcoal grill, or a Traeger. No matter what your cooking method, it is unlikely that you will attain perfection on the 1st cook. Itg will take several tries to refine your technique.

I also agree with his comment on never setting a temp of 180F and leaving it unattended overnight. The Ttraeger struggles with maintain temperature at lower set points. I generally set a temp of 225F until the protein hits the stall temp (160-170F). Then I might bump up the setpoint 10 degrees at a time until I reach 275 in order to reduce the time needed to finish the cook. After it hits the stall point, I generally wrap my butts in foil along with some liquid (water, apple cider vinegar, and apple juice) and then pull the package at 203F and probe tender. All temperatures are measured with an independent temperature sensors I trust, not the Traeger sensors that are notoriously inaccurate.
 
My suspicion is that the level of pellets in the hopper might not have been sufficient to maintain the overnight setpoint. In the morning, you did two things at the same time. You refilled the hopper and you increased the temperature setpoint by 45 degrees. If the controller was running the auger at high speed in an attempt to maintain the temperature at the lower setpoint, refilling the hopper would have over-fueled the burn pot. Then when you bumped up the setpoint, the controller tried to respond but the the temperature overshot the setpoint.

This was your first time using a Traeger, and it was not even yours to start with. There is a learning curve to using a Traeger. While Traeger grills are far from perfect, with owner experience, most of them can produce some amazing meals. One thing Traeger owners learn early-on is never to trust the temperature sensors. Always verify using a 3rd party thermometer.
Thanks for that. I use a meat thermometer to check the internal temp, but I haven’t independently verified the cooking chamber temp. Do you use an oven thermometer in addition to a meat probe?
 
What Traeger was it? I grew up cooking whole hog in pits with my uncle’s restaurant then cooking butts on offsets. I switched to BGE for a very long time until a couple years ago I got a 780Pro. I hated it at first but only because it doesn’t put near the smoke flavor I was used to. I kept working with it and long story short, I absolutely love the simplicity of my Traeger. I’ve never had any issues like yours, mine does fluctuate with temperatures but I don’t pay any attention to temperature anymore. I set mine to 230, put a butt or few on it about 7 pm with a Meater probe inserted in each. I leave my cellphone in the living room and sleep all night without thinking about it. I get up, add pellets then wait until the nest reaches 203-205. I double wrap in foil and put in my Yeti for a few hours. They are consistent every time, absolutely simple enough a 10 year old can do it. My point, don’t give up and set the temperature initially to 230 and don’t change it. 180 is too low, especially for all night. I’m no expert and only know my 780, but I’ve learned that mine doesn’t like me switching temperatures during cooks either so I don’t. If that happens again, wrap it up and put in a pan then finish in the oven. At 170, it’s not going to take on any more smoke anyway. Let us know if you try it again!
It’s an older Tailgater 20 without the probe inputs. Thanks for the tips - I would love for the process to be as reliable and simple as yours.
 
Shedd is absolutely on target. Nothing beats experience whether you are using a BBQ pit, an offset smoker, a BGE or other charcoal grill, or a Traeger. No matter what your cooking method, it is unlikely that you will attain perfection on the 1st cook. Itg will take several tries to refine your technique.

I also agree with his comment on never setting a temp of 180F and leaving it unattended overnight. The Ttraeger struggles with maintain temperature at lower set points. I generally set a temp of 225F until the protein hits the stall temp (160-170F). Then I might bump up the setpoint 10 degrees at a time until I reach 275 in order to reduce the time needed to finish the cook. After it hits the stall point, I generally wrap my butts in foil along with some liquid (water, apple cider vinegar, and apple juice) and then pull the package at 203F and probe tender. All temperatures are measured with an independent temperature sensors I trust, not the Traeger sensors that are notoriously inaccurate.
I gave it another shot.
First I completely cleaned out the Traeger, ashes and all below the tray, and cleaned the tray .
Started smoking at 10am, full pellets, 225°
1:30p, noticed temp was down to 116. Opened hopper, saw there was a hole with pellets all around. Filled hopper and closed it.
1:40p noticed the LER error code. Power cycled the Traeger, restarted it in smoke for 5 minutes with lid open per the directions. It was smoking a lot. I closed the lid and turned it back to 225. After 5 minutes, temp started increasing quickly. I turned temp to 185 to try to temper it, but temp kept spiking quickly, peaking at 380. I opened the lid to help cool it, and the fat in the tray caught fire. I pulled the pork butt out to save it from the last one’s fate. Fat in tray took some time to burn off so I left lid open for it to burn. After 7-10 minutes, fat was burned off, but temp was still ~350 with it set to 185. Temp kept fluctuating, with low of 318. After 15 minutes, temp finally went below 300. Kept dropping to 285. I closed the lid and temp went back up to 370, tho it was still set to 185.
2:22p At 27 minutes I finally was able to put the pork shoulder back in at 250 and dropping, after having kept it out and babysitting the smoker for over 25 Minutes. Temp went down to 210 and I turned it back up to 225. Seemed like it had finally stabilized.
2:49p. Temp is 138 and dropping. Temp is still set to 225. Hopper is full with no hole.
2:51. Temp has dropped to 130 and continues to drop. I assume it isn’t firing and open lid and switch back to “smoke” to reignite it.
2:57 after 5 minutes at smoke setting (per the instructions), temp shows 105 w lid open. Not sure if it’s “ignited” or not. Closed lid and set temp to 225.
3:03 temp did not increase, display showed LER again. Restarting Traeger again.
3:09 smoker is smoking lightly, can hear the fan. Temp is 103. Closed lid and set to 225 again.
3:17 temp has not increased from 103. Power cycled the smoker and started again in “smoke” per the instructions.
3:28 no smoke coming from Traeger. Temp remains at 101. Does not seem to be igniting. I give up and move the butt to the oven.

The butt came out great, but the Traeger wasn’t cooperative. Is there something likely wrong with this unit? They seem fairly simple, and my first experience with it seemed to indicate the thermostat was functioning fine - it maintained the temp I had set throughout the night without incident.

The “hole” forming in the pellet hopper was concerning. That was after 3.5 hours at 225°. Not sure what could be the fix there.

I had a couple major issues each time I tried it and am not sure if it’s worth another try with this unit. Any input?

On Sat, Dec 23, 2023 at 11:43 AM P M <[email protected]> wrote:
After I first started smoking meat and made the most beautiful, wonderful, smoked pork butt I had ever tasted in my life in my upright, charbroil propane smoker, I got tired of the work involved in maintaining the smoke and moisture and temperature, and saw the pellet smokers that Traeger made. It seemed perfect. I wanted one as it seemed it would simplify the process and allow me to leave the smoker and come back instead of having to maintain it the entire time I was smoking. I finally got to use a friend’s Traeger and smoked a beautifully rubbed 8 pound pork shoulder. I smoked it for 180 overnight and the smoking went very well, in the morning, I checked it, and it was low on pellets, but still had some in the hopper. I refilled them and set the heat to 225. The smoker started smoking excessively, and the temperature went all the way up to 450 and even 500°. I shut down the smoker in panic to not burn the meat but the bark was already overburnt. The internal temp was still a mere 170°. From there I power cycled and tried to get the smoker to regulate, but the temperature kept on fluctuating from there between a prolonged 112° up to 400° again. It was very erratic, though I followed the instructions in the manual for starting up on smoke and then setting the temperature. The temperature on this is very unreliable. The thermocouple or whatever they use for sensing the temperature does not seem to work. at the end before I finally pulled the burnt shoulders off of the grill when the internal temp was still only 170, the Traeger had finally started catching fire, though the grease tray was clean and empty when I started. That was the last straw. I am going back to my old method of just manually, controlling the temperature and manually, controlling the wood chips. I subsequently explored other threads on temperature issues with Traegers, and they seem very prone to issues with their electronics, the controller, and other elements that you should really not have to deal with when smoking. Smoking should be simple. With this you seem to lose all control and if the unit malfunctions, then your whole butt is toast. I am very disappointed and will never be buying a Traeger.

On Sat, Dec 23, 2023 at 11:34 AM Traeger Owners Forum | Traeger Grill <[email protected]> wrote:
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It’s an older Tailgater 20 without the probe inputs. Thanks for the tips - I would love for the process to be as reliable and simple as yours.
I’ve learned a lot with my Traeger. I don’t monitor the pit temp anymore, I know it varies back and forth. I cook low and slow 99% of the time. I set the grill temp to 230 and I use Meater probe’s to monitor my meat temp. Their probes are supposed to monitor pit temp but they don’t work until my cook is almost done. I’ve got some good friends in the restaurant business and food trucks that have taught me the most important thing. I cook when it’s convenient and never cook the day of, it’s too stressful and things go wrong at a bad time. They introduced me to the vacuum sealer and Sous Vide. After my meats cool I bag in vac bags. I heat up in SV. It honestly tastes just like you took it off the smoker. Even the meats I freeze. It heats up quickly so you have plenty of time to prepare the sides and such, sit and drink a beer and not stress. When I cook butts I put them on about 9 pm. Go to bed without my phone or any other temperature monitor and sleep good. I check on it when I get up, add pellets and do things around the house until it’s done. I pull butts around 200-203, double wrap with foil and put in my yeti cover with a blanket then close the lid. I’ll continue my day and get to the butts in a few hours. Now that it’s cold, I keep my Yeti inside. Learn your Traeger’s pellet burn pattern. My 780 will go about 10 or 11 hours at 230 depending on outside temperature. Now (winter) I cut the bottom out of a gall bucket and leave my hopper door open, fill it then the bucket and cover with a towel just in case I decide to sleep in.

Sorry so long. Hope this will help. I cook a lot of butts and ribs, I don’t eat nearly as much as I used to but I help my buddies when they have an event and I cook for a few local organization's as well as a couple times a month I donate to the shelters.
Keep us updated on your cooks!
 
I gave it another shot.
First I completely cleaned out the Traeger, ashes and all below the tray, and cleaned the tray .
Started smoking at 10am, full pellets, 225°
1:30p, noticed temp was down to 116. Opened hopper, saw there was a hole with pellets all around. Filled hopper and closed it.
1:40p noticed the LER error code. Power cycled the Traeger, restarted it in smoke for 5 minutes with lid open per the directions. It was smoking a lot. I closed the lid and turned it back to 225. After 5 minutes, temp started increasing quickly. I turned temp to 185 to try to temper it, but temp kept spiking quickly, peaking at 380. I opened the lid to help cool it, and the fat in the tray caught fire. I pulled the pork butt out to save it from the last one’s fate. Fat in tray took some time to burn off so I left lid open for it to burn. After 7-10 minutes, fat was burned off, but temp was still ~350 with it set to 185. Temp kept fluctuating, with low of 318. After 15 minutes, temp finally went below 300. Kept dropping to 285. I closed the lid and temp went back up to 370, tho it was still set to 185.
2:22p At 27 minutes I finally was able to put the pork shoulder back in at 250 and dropping, after having kept it out and babysitting the smoker for over 25 Minutes. Temp went down to 210 and I turned it back up to 225. Seemed like it had finally stabilized.
2:49p. Temp is 138 and dropping. Temp is still set to 225. Hopper is full with no hole.
2:51. Temp has dropped to 130 and continues to drop. I assume it isn’t firing and open lid and switch back to “smoke” to reignite it.
2:57 after 5 minutes at smoke setting (per the instructions), temp shows 105 w lid open. Not sure if it’s “ignited” or not. Closed lid and set temp to 225.
3:03 temp did not increase, display showed LER again. Restarting Traeger again.
3:09 smoker is smoking lightly, can hear the fan. Temp is 103. Closed lid and set to 225 again.
3:17 temp has not increased from 103. Power cycled the smoker and started again in “smoke” per the instructions.
3:28 no smoke coming from Traeger. Temp remains at 101. Does not seem to be igniting. I give up and move the butt to the oven.

The butt came out great, but the Traeger wasn’t cooperative. Is there something likely wrong with this unit? They seem fairly simple, and my first experience with it seemed to indicate the thermostat was functioning fine - it maintained the temp I had set throughout the night without incident.

The “hole” forming in the pellet hopper was concerning. That was after 3.5 hours at 225°. Not sure what could be the fix there.

I had a couple major issues each time I tried it and am not sure if it’s worth another try with this unit. Any input?

On Sat, Dec 23, 2023 at 11:43 AM P M <[email protected]> wrote:
That’s ridiculous, I would definitely take it back. I was completely against pellet smokers and a good friend of mine bought my 780 pro and gave it to me under certain conditions. I’ve done him similar things too but it was the best thing for me. I’m fortunate that mine hasn’t given me any issues and I cook on it every week sometimes twice. I’m hinting to my buddy about the Yoder grills 😏 Sorry you’re having such much trouble, I’ve been reading that it’s become more common.
 
I’ve learned a lot with my Traeger. I don’t monitor the pit temp anymore, I know it varies back and forth. I cook low and slow 99% of the time. I set the grill temp to 230 and I use Meater probe’s to monitor my meat temp. Their probes are supposed to monitor pit temp but they don’t work until my cook is almost done. I’ve got some good friends in the restaurant business and food trucks that have taught me the most important thing. I cook when it’s convenient and never cook the day of, it’s too stressful and things go wrong at a bad time. They introduced me to the vacuum sealer and Sous Vide. After my meats cool I bag in vac bags. I heat up in SV. It honestly tastes just like you took it off the smoker. Even the meats I freeze. It heats up quickly so you have plenty of time to prepare the sides and such, sit and drink a beer and not stress. When I cook butts I put them on about 9 pm. Go to bed without my phone or any other temperature monitor and sleep good. I check on it when I get up, add pellets and do things around the house until it’s done. I pull butts around 200-203, double wrap with foil and put in my yeti cover with a blanket then close the lid. I’ll continue my day and get to the butts in a few hours. Now that it’s cold, I keep my Yeti inside. Learn your Traeger’s pellet burn pattern. My 780 will go about 10 or 11 hours at 230 depending on outside temperature. Now (winter) I cut the bottom out of a gall bucket and leave my hopper door open, fill it then the bucket and cover with a towel just in case I decide to sleep in.

Sorry so long. Hope this will help. I cook a lot of butts and ribs, I don’t eat nearly as much as I used to but I help my buddies when they have an event and I cook for a few local organization's as well as a couple times a month I donate to the shelters.
Keep us updated on your cooks!
Hey Shedd, you said “I cut the bottom out of a gall bucket and leave my hopper door open, fill it then the bucket and cover with a towel…” Do you just set the bottomless gallon bucket on top of the Traeger hopper and fill it all the way up? No issues?
 
If you get a flame out on the grill, reigniting the fire pot is potentially hazardous. Some people have blown the lids off their smokers if the YouTube videos are to be believed. What can happen is that hot gases build up in the cooking chamber and then ignite with explosive force. Thus, if you do try to reignite a grill after a flame-out, always leave the lid open to prevent buildup of hot gases in the chamber. Even when igniting my grill at the start of a cook, I always ignite it with the lid open and only close it after the fire is burning well. It will take a few minutes longer to get the grill up to temp, but I think the delay is worth it to improve safety.
 
Hey Shedd, you said “I cut the bottom out of a gall bucket and leave my hopper door open, fill it then the bucket and cover with a towel…” Do you just set the bottomless gallon bucket on top of the Traeger hopper and fill it all the way up? No issues?
Yes, I fill the hopper then set the shell of the bucket on top of the pellets and fill the buck/shell. Then I just lay a towel over it. Works great and will go 16 hours on my 780 pro
 
Folks say Traegers are fickle and have a learning curve. Ok. Is it worth giving this another shot? Can I maintain cooker stability by ensuring the hopper doesn’t develop another hole and run dry? Is that why it went haywire before or is there likely another issue at work here? If I try once more, I’d have to run it at 180 overnight then turn the temp up to 225 in the morning, monitoring the hopper for the day. Running at 225 overnight the hopper would develop another hole and run dry.
 
Folks say Traegers are fickle and have a learning curve. Ok. Is it worth giving this another shot? Can I maintain cooker stability by ensuring the hopper doesn’t develop another hole and run dry? Is that why it went haywire before or is there likely another issue at work here? If I try once more, I’d have to run it at 180 overnight then turn the temp up to 225 in the morning, monitoring the hopper for the day. Running at 225 overnight the hopper would develop another hole and run dry.
Rather than doing an overnight cook which might be difficult to monitor, I suggest doing an extended daytime cook when you can check on it every hour. I have never attempted an overnight cook as most of my cooks take less than 8 hours.

I will fire up the Traeger as soon as I get up in the morning, put the food on as soon as the grill is up to temperature and then monitor it every hour or so through the day until the proper internal temperature is reached. The problem is that no two cooks are exactly the same so the set and forget method is risky.

If you are cooking a full packer brisket, the cook might take 16-20 hours. You can do the initial part of the cook overnight without much concern. A pork butt is usually smaller and will take somewhere between 6-12 hours. Thus, trying an overnight cook risks "burning your beautiful butt", especially on a smaller piece of meat. I usually cook pork butts weighing about 8 pounds. If you cook without wrapping part way through the cook, it can take 12 hours of so to complete the cook followed by another 1-2 hours of rest to allow juices to redistribute. I usually wrap my pork butt when it reaches the stall (around 160-170F). Doing so traps steam and allows the cook to proceed faster without burning the meat. If you are not monitoring the cook, you do not know when it reaches the stall.
 
After I first started smoking meat and made the most beautiful, wonderful, smoked pork butt I had ever tasted in my life in my upright, charbroil propane smoker, I got tired of the work involved in maintaining the smoke and moisture and temperature, and saw the pellet smokers that Traeger made. It seemed perfect. I wanted one as it seemed it would simplify the process and allow me to leave the smoker and come back instead of having to maintain it the entire time I was smoking. I finally got to use a friend’s Traeger and smoked a beautifully rubbed 8 pound pork shoulder. I smoked it for 180 overnight and the smoking went very well, in the morning, I checked it, and it was low on pellets, but still had some in the hopper. I refilled them and set the heat to 225. The smoker started smoking excessively, and the temperature went all the way up to 450 and even 500°. I shut down the smoker in panic to not burn the meat but the bark was already overburnt. The internal temp was still a mere 170°. From there I power cycled and tried to get the smoker to regulate, but the temperature kept on fluctuating from there between a prolonged 112° up to 400° again. It was very erratic, though I followed the instructions in the manual for starting up on smoke and then setting the temperature. The temperature on this is very unreliable. The thermocouple or whatever they use for sensing the temperature does not seem to work. at the end before I finally pulled the burnt shoulders off of the grill when the internal temp was still only 170, the Traeger had finally started catching fire, though the grease tray was clean and empty when I started. That was the last straw. I am going back to my old method of just manually, controlling the temperature and manually, controlling the wood chips. I subsequently explored other threads on temperature issues with Traegers, and they seem very prone to issues with their electronics, the controller, and other elements that you should really not have to deal with when smoking. Smoking should be simple. With this you seem to lose all control and if the unit malfunctions, then your whole butt is toast. I am very disappointed and will never be buying a Traeger.
The Traeger pellet smoker disappointed me with temperature fluctuations unreliable readings and even a fire hazard. Despite its promise of simplicity the electronics seemed prone to issues. I've returned to my old manual method for better control.
If considering a new smoker it's wise to research reliability and user reviews.
 
InkBird

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